US Rep. Kathleen Rice, center, joined by local officials and...

US Rep. Kathleen Rice, center, joined by local officials and community members, speaks about her opposition to the Port Ambrose liquified natural gas transfer station, from the boardwalk in Long Beach Jan. 15, 2015. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Lawmakers against a proposed liquefied natural gas transfer station 17 miles off Long Beach pressed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday to speak up and join them.

In her first home-turf appearance as a congresswoman, Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said she wrote Cuomo last week to urge him to veto Liberty Natural Gas' Port Ambrose plan, which is headed to the final stages of a federal review.

"We rely on our ocean and coastline, and we simply cannot afford the risk this terminal poses," Rice said on the Long Beach boardwalk, where she was supported by about 70 opponents of the plan, Long Beach City Council members and state and Nassau lawmakers.

"Where is he?" said councilwoman Fran Adelson (D).

A Cuomo spokeswoman declined to comment.

In the plan, specially designed vessels would bring LNG from the Caribbean to a floating system of buoys and buried pipes. Regasified on board, the fuel would go into pipes hooked up to existing pipelines serving Long Island and New York City.

A federal law allows a nay from either Cuomo or his New Jersey counterpart, Gov. Chris Christie, to kill the plan because the station is close to shore and new pipes would have to be laid in state waters.

In 2012, Liberty Natural Gas withdrew its application for a similar transfer port off Asbury Park, New Jersey, after Christie's environmental concerns helped kill it.

Roger Whelan, head of the company, which is part of an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, was traveling and not reachable Thursday. But he has said the project is safe and predicted it would lower energy bills by stabilizing the winter spike in natural gas prices.

In a draft environmental statement released last month, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard said the impact on species, recreation and the environment would largely be short term and minor.

If the governors say nothing and federal licenses are approved, the transfer port could be completed by late 2017.

Both sides of the issue saw hope last month when the Cuomo administration came out against a drilling process know as fracking upstate.

Some said it heralded a push for "plan B" energy alternatives like Port Ambrose, while critics were encouraged by Cuomo's environmental stance.

Thursday, lawmakers said the state should focus on renewable energy. They said the boardwalk and other state-funded Sandy repairs would be jeopardized by a gas accident.

"Listen to what we have to say," Legis. Denise Ford (D-Long Beach) urged Cuomo. "Listen to your partners in government."

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